Teaching AI Ethics

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The Challenge:

Decisions regarding the responsible design of artificial intelligence (AI) are often made by engineers who receive little training in the complex ethical considerations at play within their designs. Universities have struggled to find effective ways to integrate these issues into curricula for technical students. The World Economic Forum Global Future Councils on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, comprised of leading academics and experts in the field, has recommended creating a repository of actionable and useful materials for faculty who wish to add social inquiry and discourse into their AI coursework. 

The Opportunity:

This project connects professors from around the world and offers them a platform to share, learn and modify their curriculum to include a focus on AI ethics. This open-source sharing database will enable instructors to teach future AI scientists to understand the potential consequences of their work, empower them to make the right decisions as they design and deploy new products, and strengthen the use of responsible AI for the benefit of those companies and governments in which they end up working. 


The creation of AI without consideration of ethics and values, social inclusion and human centered design can have deleterious consequences to individuals, businesses, and social structures. As The Guardian recently described Cambridge Analytica’s Reseach Director, reflecting on the use of AI to sway election results: “He thrilled to the intellectual possibilities of it. He didn’t think of the consequences.” AI scientists must be taught at the earliest stages how to consider and address issues such as bias, privacy, transparency and accountability in the creation of AI tools.

Professors who already have already design a course on AI ethics, or have an ethical component to their curricula, are invited to upload the syllabi and teaching materials onto a designated online platform. Then, professors from around the world can use those resources to assist them in their classes and adapt them to make them culturally relevant for their students. Professors are then asked to share that amended curricula back into the repository for others to use. Participants in this exchange will be invited to annual workshop to discuss the latest developments in AI education and share insights from first-hand experiences in the classroom. The project is being co-created with Carnegie Mellon University professors Illah Nourbakhsh and Jennifer Keating.